With a controversy erupting in Kerala over the Centre's decision to name the second campus of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology after RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar, Union minister V Muraleedharan on Sunday backed the move and said there was nothing wrong in naming it after a "patriot".
"What is wrong in naming an institute after a patriot?" the minister asked when queried by reporters about the Centre's decision, which has kicked by a row in the state.
MS Golwalkar was a zoology professor in Banaras University, he said and asked how the famous Nehru trophy boat race was named after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
"Has Nehru ever participated in any sports activity?" Mr Muraleedharan asked.
An impromptu boat race was conducted in 1952 in honour of Jawaharlal Nehru during his visit to Alappuzha, and it has become an annual event hosted at the Punnamada lake in August.
The minister said he failed to understand on what basis MS Golwalkar's name had become unacceptable.
"The RGCB governing council took this decision and no one else has a role in it," he told the media at Kasaragod.
CPI leader Panniyan Ravindran said the state would not accept this decision of the Centre.
He alleged that a conscious effort was being made to impose wrong facts as history.
Union Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had on Friday announced that the second campus of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), a major knowledge centre and hub for mid and high-level innovation, will be named as ''Shri Guruji Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar National Centre for Complex Disease in Cancer and Viral Infection."
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had shot off a letter to the Union health minister on Saturday and urged him to reconsider the move.
While the Left parties have alleged that BJP was trying to bring communal elements to the forefront, Congress has questioned the contribution of MS Golwalkar in the field of science and technology in India.